By  on December 19, 2008

Retail shares escaped the worst of another late-day swoon on Wall Street on Thursday but couldn’t get away unscathed after investors pulled back following Standard & Poor’s reduction of General Electric Co.’s outlook to “negative” from “stable.”

After spending most of the day in positive territory, the Standard & Poor’s Retail Index dropped 1.4 percent to 286.61. It fared better than the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which dropped 2.5 percent to 8,604.99, and the S&P 500, down 2.1 percent to 885.28. Both retreated quickly in the late afternoon after S&P lowered its outlooks on both General Electric Co. and its General Electric Capital Corp. (GECC) unit, based principally on concerns about GECC’s effect on GE’s gold-standard “AAA” long-term credit rating.

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